First generation, the Martyrs, collaborated as a group of various Magicians in the age of the Vampire and Witch mania that was slowly dying down in Europe. The first to form an actual community was a group of seven Magician: Rufus Barnabas the I, Jean-Jaques Valer, Lorena Berach, Bertram Berach (Lorena’s brother), Levy Hywel, Gillian Brill and Congmall the Thief. Their “reign” lasted for eleven years, in the second half of the eighteenth century, and ended on the 12th of May, 1782, with the Great Fire of Sanduhr, also known as the Great Pyre of Sanduhr – it was rumoured that they wished to start a Magical Revolution, in which they planned to make Magic public. This was later called the Blotched Revolution or the Glein Revolution. As there is no remaining proof of this, these claims are not for certain. However, because of the rumours, there appeared a tradition in the Magical community of picking the seven best Magicians in a generation.
The Second generation, the Guardians, called thus for their efforts in rebuilding the Magical community of Europe, consisted of: Eugenius Valer, Adeline Valer, Zoe the Humble, Ronne Ozolinsh, Xerxes the Lost, Roman Krol and Dante Elliot Durans. There are records, particularly the Diary of Zoe the Humble, that reveal that the Estate of the Valer family was used to shelter Magicians.
The Third Generation, also known as the Lost Generation, are called so because of the fact that there is little to no information on any members. It is suspected that some, if not all members dabbled in Alchemy and were directly involved in the synthesizing of both Shifters and Mermaids. These experiments were cut short in 1813, when they were discovered by the Government. The Shifters were then taken under the wing of the Repressive Government and their race of origin is still unknown. The Mermaids escaped into the Ocean, where they now live in seclusion and little is known about them. The only records of the events can be found in Loukianos Katsaros’ History of the Unknown, but as…
“Drina, what are you doing?”
“Reading, mom, thought you’d been happy about that…”
Fourth Generation, the Anarchists, were active during the First and Second World Wars. They were as follows: Stefan Roman, Kouki Fukui, Yuuta Fukui, Edith de Mori, who was married to Morgan de Mori, Alfons Venner and Zvezdana Svetlich. This group proved to be rather dysfunctional, but banned together to…
“What are you reading, dear?”
“Nothing special, mom.”
The Fifth Generation or the Wizened, if you would, stepped up almost immediately after the end of World War II and collaborated with the older Generation to help both restore and build anew the frayed Magical communities of the world. For the first time, however, the goal of this Generation was the collaboration of all Magical communities–
“Well, it seems rather interesting, if you’re willing to glue your nose to the pages like that.”
–they were: Ludwig van Velzen, Nahuel Ibarra, Lành Quý Trần, Hulda Hagebak, Gang Zhu, Benjamin Barnabas and Ife Afolyan. However, as it later turned out, Ludwig van Velzen was actually a…
“Drina. Earth to Drina, can you hear us hun?”
“You’re supposed to say excuse me not what.”
“Mom, come on, let me read…”
“Well, I’d never thought…”
The Protégés are the present Generation, in charge of registration and further developments in the study of Magic. They also oversee the Olympic Agones Magiae that are…
“Okay but just let me finish this passage.”
They consist of Reima Laukkanen, Ulyssa Isaac, Zyanya Lyobaa, Nayeli Lyobaa, Chukwuemeka “Emeka” Ihejirika, Kawacatoose Pratt and the late Elrud Olliver…
“School starts in five minutes.”
“What?! Why didn’t you tell me this before?!”
Her parents just looked at each other.
Drina’s parents left their daughter in front of the school entrance, stopped their car just long enough for the girl to hop out and then drove off. The driver, her Father, didn’t look back, he only looked forward.
Drina contemplated whether she should go into the building or get as far away from it as she could.
She decided to trust in her Father’s bad habit of phoning her home-teacher.
For a second, Drina had to wonder why something that had never stopped her before was stopping her now. For the rest of the day, she tried to forget both the question and the answer.
The bell rung, saving her any further contemplation. Drina plunged into the crowd with quick strides and jumped around people without touching them.
It wasn’t because she had a particular thirst for geography – it just freaked her peers out.
There was a time when she tried to fit in with them, when going to school meant suffering only on the academic level because the people who went through a state education were your fellow labourers, your friends.
There was a time of bright dreams, cool cloths and make-up, of going out and staying up all night. She still had dreams, but they no longer include a good university or a career in acting. She wore cool cloths – because she could, thank you very much – but make-up was out of the question, because sticking your pretty little face over a smouldering cauldron tended to leave your mascara running and your hair frizzled to the point of one Albert Einstein.
She was eighteen and stayed up all night to copy spell-books into her notebooks, or mix up potions and practice locating incantations. Since she couldn’t always do these things at home, she’d found a few places in the city where it was relatively safe to be alone and look like an occultist. A few abandoned houses, a few all-night cafés, or her Uncle Marko’s – because that man was awesome.
He owned a two-story house on the outskirts of the capital and was always quick to welcome her. However, since he was rather old and his left leg was unreliable he usually slept downstairs. Which meant the second floor was reserved for her and only her. It was a good thing the stench of herbal remedies was daunted by the smell of other, tastier liquids... and the fact the man hadn’t read a book in the last decade of so.
All in all, Uncle Marko seemed glad to have someone to keep him company and Drina didn’t mind the smell of alcohol or the complete disarray of the place one bit if it meant she could practice her craft.
Still, this caused rumours. Everything caused rumours – from her strange behaviour, her fluctuating grades, her sudden absences, her temper – and mind you, most of those rumours were not pretty in the slightest.
Worst of all was that the rumours were never about her.
They would still be there if she was the most well-behaved, straight A, popular girly-girl in school.
She was temperamental and feared. She was willful but uninterested in most of her school work. She was smart-assed but forgetful, irresponsible and all out terrifying when she wanted to be. Above all else, Drina was infamous and pitied.
There was a time Drina believed in friendship and family and that everything would be okay if people would just stick together, work out their differences. If people showed a bit more empathy towards one another – a little less pity for the unfortunate child that everyone knew of and no one actually knew.
There was a time when Drina believed the world didn’t judge people by how well they pretend.
It was seven in the evening when school finally let out. The night was kind of chilly for April, but that wasn’t something Drina generally paid attention to. What she did pay attention to were small children being picked on by other, bigger ones.
She wouldn’t have cared, if it weren’t for the fact that she recognized the messy hair and chubby cheeks of the kid they were harassing.
Oh, they were so dead.
She strode towards them, a panther waiting to pounce on its pray. They didn’t notice her until she knocked the first guy over, planted a heavy-metal style boot between his shoulders and just dared them to say anything to her.
“What do you think you’re doing?“
“We should be asking you that, you freak!“
“Oh, I’m the freak? Last time I checked, picking on little kids was far freakier than putting brats like you in their place.“
“What’re you going to do, then?”
The shadow twitched at Drina’s side. It began to shift and trace endless circles around her feet, reaching hungrily towards the three bozos who really didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.
However, Drina had enough common sense to know one shouldn’t strangle people with shadows if one could help it. In the end she settled for hollow eyes and a cold laugh. “Nothing much.“ she said – infinitely more confidant, infinitely crueler than they could ever hope to be. “I’ll just tell the Director to watch the video from that camera over there at exactly“ as she gestures towards the offensive mechanism, she made a dramatic gesture so she could look at her watch and sing-song “19:24.“
That threw them off. They might have called her chicken – might have called her a whole lot else – but they already knew that she would go through with every single one of her threats if provoked.
She had nothing to lose, after all. No friends. No good reputation to keep up. Nothing of value to be stolen.
In short, she could do what she wanted and damn the consequences. Someone who she helped one day might become her worst enemy tomorrow. Drina was fickle like that. The world she lived in was ever-changing and all the people in it were just as unreliable and fickle as she was.
Sometimes, Drina wondered how long would it take for all of them to disappear.
The three idiots were already gone, but the chubby little girl was still by her side – hesitant, unsure.
Drina frowned at her, but decided not to ask questions. All frustration left her with a heavy sigh. She was exhausted, but begun the trek to the bus station anyway.
“Next time, wait for me by the corner-store, four streets away from here.“ she advised, almost randomly, as they walked.
It was too quiet. It was always so, so quiet.
“I was planning on going to a friend’s house now, you want to come with me?“
really wasn’t an appropriate term. Then again, house wasn't either.
The quiet thudding of feet ceased. Despite this, Drina didn’t stop walking – walking forward, walking away.
Though it wasn’t, really.
This time, Drina did stop. She didn’t turn around, because turning around meant facing people and Drina hated staring people in the eye because they’re so easy to read, so painfully predictable.
“Won’t your parents wonder where you are?“
She was afraid of what she would find if she looked.
“They think I’m staying over at a friend’s house, my older cousin’s actually.“
Not looking was even worse. Especially when the kid had such a lame excuse.
“They buy it.“ It was more a statement than it was a question. Drina’s tone was flat under the weight of disbelief.
Chubby cheeks twisted into a derisive pout. “She’s family.“
“Who would let you out at night because...?“ I really shouldn’t be asking this.
“She went out for the night, I took her spare keys.“ And this kid really shouldn’t be answering like this.
“She didn’t notice?“
We’re so screwed.
“Okay then, let’s hurry before we miss our buss.“
In a split second, the childish innocence was restored. Somehow, it was the oddity in this situation – the thing that didn’t belong in the dark night and forgotten whispers.
Drina shook her head. “Are you coming or not?“
The girl, flustered, started running. With jerky, clumsily steps she hurried to catch up. It was both fortunate and unfortunate that the bus was at the station when they turned the corner and that they had to run a good distance so it didn’t leave without them.
Drina had jammed her boot-clad foot in the slot of the door and waited for the fatty to get on.
The bus wasn’t too overcrowded. There was just enough room for one girl to sit and the other to back off. The bus was old and creaky, thus its moans made up for the lack of conversation.
Drina looked out the window and pretended not to notice.
Teaodora looked at the people on the bus and wondered why they all pretended they were not the least bit interested in one another.
Maybe it was a childish curiosity, but Teaodora still wondered at the world with a tentative, wishful, not yet weary, thought – fragile, like a roe right before it bolted into the unknown.
A shrill voice startled them both, but before either could react Teadora found herself trapped between the window and the walk-way by an uninvited guest.
The new-comer grinned from where she knelt on the wide, wooden seat – a grin so wide it seemed like the person’s narrow face was too small to express the entirety of her joy.
“Hey, Tea!“ she said – short, scrawny and shrill.
Teaodora blinked “Oh, hi Dorotea!“
Dorotea giggled, her thirteen-year-old frame shaking all the way, and lent forward so she was staring her friend right in the face. Her eyes looked unusually large as they watched the older girl. Light was reflected in them from every street lamp they passed and every benign thought in their blue depths.
“Didn’t think I’d see you here, partner,“ again, that Cheshire grin that, to Drina, seemed too big for a being so small to posses “whatcha doing so far from home?“
“Oh, I just decided to go out.“ Teaodora’s answer was hesitant, but Dorotea’s was not.
“No way! You? Why didn’t you call me?“ she sprouted questions faster than anyone could answer – which was fine, since she didn’t seem to be expecting any.
Teaodora bit her lip “I’ve actually already made plans with someone else.“
Dorotea blinked, all wide-eyed and slack-yawed, like she’d come right out of some looney-tune cartoon. She spluttered even as Teaodora looked at Drina for help. Dorotea followed her gaze.
Her blue eyes grew comically wide.
“What? Seriously?! Hey, hey, hey! Grandma!“ Dorotea jumped up from her odd half-seated, half-kneeled position and bounced over to Drina, all hyper-active cheer and determined, steel-blue irises. The bus creaked almost painfully.
Dorotea grinned as she climbed up the pole Drina had been holding on to, like a monkey on a monkey-bar, and whispered in conspiring tone “You’re one of them, aren’t you?“
Drina froze, jerked and almost toppled over when the bus turned a nasty corner.
Dorotea’s grin was so wide Drina though it might split her face in two. “Uhuhu! Uhuhu!“ the girl chanted – excited, naive and unbiased. “Seriously? Well, have fun you two!“
The bus stopped scarcely tens seconds after that. Dorotea skipped down the steps with a wave, wished them luck and to bring her back either a Werewolf claw or a Witch’s hat. Either was fine.
Dorotea was so very different from those three boys from school, from so many others.
Drina wondered how children could be so cruel. She wondered how they could be so kind.
“You told her?“ the eldest asked, slowly, almost hesitantly. To her, this felt like stepping into an untrampled meadow, an untouched haven.
Was she really welcome here?
Teadora’s face twisted into a grimace “She kind of figured it out.“
“And...“–another turn, another almost fall–”she’s cool with it?“
Teaodora shrugged. For once, her chubby face was relaxed and unworried. “Dorotea is cool with almost everything.“ she reassured, smiling to herself “ She likes to fly, too.“
“Fly...?“ Drina thought she should back off, now, before she trampled some precious little flower right into its dirty dirt grave– but she was too curious, too wishful, to back away.
Teaodora’s face was dusted pink. “Uh... it’s... kind of what I do. Make things... float, I guess.“
A second passes, two.
“Levitation?“ the elder girl’s voice was slow, muddled as her mind, but it grew with something akin to horror. “You mastered levitation?!“
The chubby little fifteen-year-old just blinked “Uh, yes?“
“Why you lucky, little...“ Too late, Drina remembered you weren’t supposed to swear around kids, or shout like a crazed occultist on the bus – or do anything like a crazed occultist on the bus.
Drina took a gulp of air and proclaimed “Cool.“
The bus was awfully loud once more, creaking and moaning like an old man under the stomping feet of his young passengers.
Teaodora bit her lip. It distorted her round face in a funny way and Drina had the urge to laugh. She did – and once more people stared. Drina couldn’t have cared less.
“So, uh, what can you do...“ Tea obviously didn’t know whether she should laugh along or pretend she didn’t know the other girl. She settled for a childish curiosity and unstable company.
Drina shrugged, reached into her bag with a careless move as an equally careless voice recited “Nothing much.“
The elder girl took out a pack of cigarettes, opened it and slipped the lighter out – then shoved the pack back into her bag. All the while, Teaodora watched with a wrinkled nose. Another funny expression, though Drina guessed it was what normal people would have called cute.
Neither of them was normal.
As she was thinking this, the purple lighter was twirled between her fingers. Snap, an orange flame appeared. Snap, it’s gone. Snap, people were frowning at her. Snap, the lack of flame lingered in the air, the smell of smoke and grease mixing in the stale air. Snap, and she almost burned her fingers.
Snap! A small ball of light floated above the lighter. It flickered, a white marble in place of a warm fire. A casual observer might have mistaken it for the work of the little device, but Tea knew what it was. The light went out just a second after Teaodora’s face broke into an unadulterated grin.
Drina saw a bit of Dorotea in that grin.